Canada closes borders to unvaccinated athletes on January 15


Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Canada will close its borders to unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes over the New Year.

Unvaccinated players in the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS are now allowed to cross borders under the COVID-19 national interest exemption.

The vaccine mandates, effective January 15, will have little effect if any NBA and NHL players are unvaccinated, given the proportion of unvaccinated players in the leagues. that is insignificant.

The NBA reported before the end of the season that 95% of its players were vaccinated and recently encouraged its players to receive the COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as possible. The most notable was Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, who was not with the Nets when they played in Toronto on November 7. Brooklyn management told Irving he was not allowed to practice or play with the club until he is vaccinated.

Canada and Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who played in last summer’s Olympic qualifiers in Victoria, initially said he wouldn’t get the vaccine, but eventually got it, saying it was “options.” His only is to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA. ”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said at the start of the season that the league has only four unvaccinated players.

Friday’s news about the athletes is part of broader border tightening that also affects international students, work permit holders and essential service providers including including truck drivers.

“The upcoming changes to Canada’s border entry and testing requirements reflect the next phase in our government’s approach as we align ourselves with improving immunization rates in Canada. both in Canada and around the world,” said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

“The situation at our border remains closely monitored, with officials and experts continuing their work to assess the measures adopted and recommend necessary adjustments as required. “

Major League Baseball reported last summer that 23 of its 30 teams had hit the 85% vaccine threshold.

When unvaccinated Canadian Football League players enter the country before the season, they are required to quarantine for routine testing before being allowed to practice. On October 21, the federation announced eight of its nine teams had reached the 85% threshold of being fully vaccinated. The league predicts that 93% of current players will be fully vaccinated by October 31.

Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes have been required to be vaccinated in order to compete at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

After January 15, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals will only be allowed entry into Canada if they meet the criteria for limited exceptions, which apply to certain certain groups such as food and agricultural workers, seafarers, humanitarian entrants, new permanent residents, resettled refugees and certain children under the age of 18 .

Travelers who have not been vaccinated against the exemption will continue to be subject to screening, isolation and other entry requirements. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign nationals who are not exempt will be barred from entering Canada.

This Canadian Press report was first published on November 19, 2021.

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